If you have spent most of your life getting traditional sleep patterns—awake during the day and asleep at night—it can be challenging to adjust to your first night-shift job. The transition could take a toll on your body and mind, so be aware that it will probably take time to adjust. How much time it takes will vary from one person to the next, but rest assured that you will get used to it eventually.
Many first-time night workers experience their most significant challenges during periods of inactivity. That’s when it becomes hardest for them to remain alert. Depending on the type of work you’re doing, it could even be dangerous to lose your focus during those first few weeks on the new shift.
Here are five tips that you might find useful as you transition from daytime worker to the night shift:
Taking naps can help
Take a 30-minute nap before your shift starts. During the shift, use your breaks and lunch period for a few catnaps—no more than 10 to 20 minutes each so that you don’t end up feeling groggy. These so-called “power naps” will help to restore your mental alertness.
Avoid large meals
When you eat small portions throughout your shift, you tend to keep your energy level high. Changes to your sleep pattern could make your digestive system more sensitive, and large meals are typically harder to digest than light snacks. Make sure you’re packing healthy snacks; junk foods probably won’t have the same positive effects.
Keep moving your body
When you have those periods of inactivity during your shift, get up and walk around, stretch, or jog in place. Whenever your body moves, your blood starts to flow and your mind stays awake.
Talk to your co-workers
Conversations will keep your mind active and will prevent you from getting drowsy. Talk about the problems you’re having with adjusting to the night shift. Your fellow workers might be able to share a few coping strategies.
Ease off on the caffeine toward the end of your shift
Having caffeinated beverages before your shift, or early in the night, might help to keep you alert, but it’s best to avoid them later in the night. Coffee, tea, and sodas can make it difficult for you to fall asleep when you get home and may interrupt your new sleep cycle.
It’s not always easy to persuade your body to sleep during the day. Light and noise are constant reminders that it isn’t night time. Find a space that’s dark, cool and quiet to give yourself the best chance of getting a good day’s sleep.
We can help you find and adjust to your night shift job.
Contact Pro Resources for the light industrial or technical/professional position that’s right for you. We’ve been in business for over 30 years, so let us use our experience to help you find your next job.